India has become the third largest base of technology start-ups in the world, according to the Economic Survey 2015-16. As a part of the Action plan announced by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, the scheme for Startup Intellectual Property Protection (SIPP) was launched by the Government for enabling Start-Ups to protect their Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). IPRs are emerging as a strategic business tool for any business organization to enhance industrial competitiveness. In this competitive world where startups have limited resources and manpower, it is imperative for them to protect their IPRs.
The said scheme is planned to facilitate protection of Patents, Trademarks and Industrial Designs of innovative and interested Start-ups and is being launched initially on a pilot basis for a year. The following measures are being taken in this regard:
A. Fast-tracking of Startup patent applications: The valuation of any innovation goes up immensely, once it gets the protective cover of a patent. To this end, the patent application of Startups shall be fast-tracked for examination and disposal, so that they can realize the value of their IPRs at the earliest possible.
B. Panel of facilitators to assist in filing of IP applications: For effective implementation of the scheme, a panel of “facilitators*” shall be empanelled by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM), who shall also regulate their conduct and functions.
*List of facilitators for patent/designs and trademarks has been uploaded on the website of CGPDTM (http://www.ipindia.nic.in/Whats_New/iprFacilitation_StartUps.htm). Facilitators will be responsible for:
i. Providing general advisory on different IPRs, information on protecting and promoting IPRs in other countries
ii. Providing assistance in filing and disposal of the IP applications related to patents, trademarks and design under relevant Acts
iii. Preparing and filing responses to examinations reports and other queries, notices or letters, as may be required
iv. Appearing on behalf of Start-Ups at hearings, contesting opposition and ensuring final disposal of the IP applications
C. Government to bear facilitation cost: Under this scheme, the Central Government shall bear the entire fees of the facilitators for any number of patents, trademarks or designs that a Startup may file, and the Startups shall bear the cost of the statutory fees payable only.
D. Rebate on filing of application: Startups shall be provided an 80% rebate in filing of patents vis-à-vis other companies.
Through this graphical presentation, start-ups will get a rough idea as to how they can protect their IPRs:
Recently, the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India has issued IPR facilitation for startups document wherein the detailed procedure in a questionnaire form has given followed by the office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks with respect to IPRs.
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